Research Journal

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's meeting was pretty short and straight forward. When I arrived at the Laser Teaching Center, Siqi was already at the lab talking with John. He was probably there to hand in his permission slip for enrolling into a physics research class as well. After handing in our permission slips, John gave each of us a journal for documenting our research. Then, he showed us a few journal to give us an idea of what and how to document each entry. Lastly, before we ended the short meeting, John helped me set up my online web page and thus began my research experience.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today, I went to the Laser Teach Center to meet with John and the new international student, Siqi, who wanted to join the Laser Teaching Center as well. This was the first official meeting of the semster so John showed us a few amusing optical effects and reserach projects that had been done in the past to perk our interests.

First, he showed us a few toys around the lab. One of these toys is a mirage mirrors that produces holograms. These holograms are so vivid that when a laser beam is shined at the images, it doesn't simple pass through the image, the beam is apparent at the position of where it is shined. For example, if I shined a laser beam at the eye of a holographic pig, the beam would create a dot on the eye of the holographic pig instead of shining pass the image. This phenomenon can be explained by simply looking at the mirrors within the toy. The reason the laser beam is visible on the hologram is because of the multiple reflections occuring within the mirrors.

Another toy is the holographic diffraction glasses which showed different types of diffractions produced by objects reflecting light. Simply by looking through the glasses, the gradings of the lens diffract florescent light coming through to produce an almost rainbow effect.

This idea of diffraction also applies to CDs where the grading within the CD produced a type of rainbow when it is under florescent light. The grading of the CD is so small that it is almost impossible to use a vinyl disk player where a needle is used to play each track. This is where laser beams come in handy. Within the CD player, there is a laser beam that has been focused to a few nanometers to read each of the tracks within the CD. To me, this seems almost impossible to accomplish but somehow it is done.

Due to my interest in doing an atmospheric science related research, John showed us a project done by one of his previous students, Tanya. We ended this meeting with John showing us some more projects online and giving us registration papers to fill out.